DES MOINES, Iowa — After six months of searching, Iowa Lottery officials made contact with a man who’d won a $1 million Powerball prize back in November, but didn’t know it because he hadn’t checked the ticket.
Richard Watson of Belton, Mo., claimed his prize Monday at lottery headquarters in Des Moines, according to a news release Monday from the Iowa Lottery. His prize was one of two sizable Powerball prizes that were unclaimed in the eastern Iowa community of Tipton. A $10,000 prize won in January with a ticket purchased at a Tipton grocery store remains unclaimed.
Watson said he was shocked when he learned last week that he’d won a big prize.
“I travel for work and I have a bundle of lottery tickets that I was planning on going through, but I hadn’t yet,” Watson said. “And I received a call that I thought was a scam, but it turned out it wasn’t.”
Watson, 58, who repairs industrial injection molding machines, said he purchased his winning ticket at the Kum & Go on Highway 38 in Tipton for the Powerball drawing on Nov. 16. He was traveling for work and bought a ticket during a stop for gasoline.
Watson admitted that he set the ticket aside and didn’t check it for months. In fact, he currently has tickets from several different states that he has yet to check, but he plans to do that soon.
“I had compiled them all together and I was going to go through them, so I had them in my computer bag,” he said. “I got my computer bag, got my tickets out, went back out to the car and found the ticket.”
Rich noted that the Iowa Lottery’s Security Division routinely gathers details about tickets that win large prizes, and in the case of Watson’s ticket, the lottery worked with Kum & Go to obtain additional specifics. As time went on and the prize remained unclaimed, lottery security staffers asked Kum & Go officials if they would help review the information in the hopes of reaching the potential winner.
“You’ve heard us say before that we want to see our prizes claimed when someone legitimately has won them,” Lottery CEO Terry Rich said Monday. “We hope that our work in this situation demonstrates that.”